The 5 Second Rule – no not that one

In this blog post we’re sharing lots more about video advertising! If you haven’t already, please check out our last post on Facebook live videos here. If you’ve ever been on YouTube watching videos you’ll notice that you can skip some ads, but others you can’t. Some of that has to do with the channel’s exposure and the advertising. But the skip is pretty common unless you’re Chevy advertising on Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show.

The 5 second ad Skip

All you are going to get is five seconds to make an impression. This could lead to a strategy of only having a four second ad. Many people who watch YouTube videos typically don’t watch these. Instead, they wait for the five second skip and then immediately do so.

Thousands of ads run on YouTube everyday, and now that we can upload longer video ads that’s great. However, YouTube counters with a 5 second skip. Now marketers have to get their message to grab attention and retain it in the first 5 seconds. But here’s a really NASTY secret I’m going to divulge.

You’ve really only got less than 3 seconds to grab and retain attention. Yes, 3 seconds. The time it took you to just read the last sentence in this blog post.

The Brand Logo

This is an argument typically between creatives and marketers. Where do you put the branding page with logo in the timeline of the video? In the beginning? Or at the end? I’m going to come out and say at the end. Especially if you are not Apple or other popular brand. Heck, they don’t place their brand until end any way really.

Here’s the conundrum. With the brand appearing in the first 5 seconds, before the skip, people are more likely to recall your brand. But, and it’s a big one, most people are NOT likely to continue watching the ads and therefore skip the ad.

See the problem? Brand awareness puts the logo in the video first. But for better reach and impressions for the ad, it’s best to place it last. What’s a marketer to do?

Plan, then test, then plan some more

This is something developers do all the time. We don’t code then deploy. That’s insane. It’s an issue because you don’t know the unknowns and if your code really works (link to developer forgotten hero post).

For testing, try to place your brand in different places along with the product. If your video has the brand at the beginning, then it may not get viewed. Try placing it somewhere in the context of the video along with what you are advertising. Google did a study on this with Mountain Dew that’s worth a read here.

Think Mobile First and Only

I say the word “only” because of this simple fact. Do you know how many videos are actually watched on a desktop device versus mobile? Well, there’s an actual answer. In 2015, it was found that consumers spent more time watching videos on mobile devices. About 39 minutes a day watching videos.

Wordwide usage mobile vs desktop
Wordwide usage mobile vs desktop
USA usage mobile vs desktop
USA usage mobile vs desktop

In 2016 it was found that mobile videos would surpass other devices. So, it’s not over for 2017, but then the numbers were assumed to be around 50% with this study. I think it’s safe to say that now, it’s surpassed it.

So is your videos, whether on ads or not, mobile friendly? Take a look at what others are doing. If your viewers have to watch beyond the 5 second mark to get the point of your ad or brand, then they aren’t going to bother. Moreover, if you have a video that requires people to hold their device closer to their faces to see what is going on, then you may not see that engagement.

All in all, don’t get frustrated. There is no silver bullet to solve this issue and get views past 3 seconds. However, if you can do some of these things to avoid people skipping your ad, then you’re doing it better than most.

Some tips to make un-skippable videos

Humor or Heart warming – Simply put, make it funny, but don’t go full stand up. Additionally, you can make it heart warming, but not too sad. After all, tears block the view of the videos. Remember to set the right tone for the product you’re advertising.

Brand placement – As we discussed, we recommend you show the logo at the end for best results on the product. Please, don’t have it floating around on the screen.

Celebrity – Yes, as in actor, model or one of your local celebs that can be a spokesperson can help. Nothing is better in a video ad than a friendly and recognizable face to keep attention.

Check out how these guys attempted to make un-skippable content:


I have been in marketing and technology for more than 20 years and have worked in many industries and worn many hats. From independent consultant, to cooking school, to establishing technology centers, it was a Spirit led adventure that landed me in the president & owner’s seat at Element 502.

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